IBM Streaming Analytics, Message Hub Now on Bluemix

Now on IBM's Bluemix, new Apache Kafka-based tools offer developers faster access to outside data and data visualization and analysis

IBM big data

IBM Streaming Analytics and IBM Message Hub are now available as services on the IBM Cloud.

These tools are based on the popular Apache Kafka messaging engine and are designed to work together to make it easier for developers to integrate external data into their apps, as well as visualize and continuously analyze this data.

Both services will be available to developers on Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service offering.

IBM's Streaming Analytics service, powered by IBM Streams, can analyze millions of events per second to enable sub-millisecond response times and instant decision-making. Streaming Analytics gives developers a more efficient way to visualize data, and will help expand the use of data analytics to a much broader base of users throughout businesses, IBM said. This recent addition to the Bluemix services portfolio helps organizations spot opportunities and risks across all data incoming from their systems and operations.

Meanwhile, IBM Message Hub also is now available as a new Bluemix service in beta. Message Hub provides scalable, distributed, high-throughput, asynchronous messaging for cloud applications. Message Hub offers the choice of using a REST or Apache Kafka API to communicate with other applications, and builds on Kafka, a fast, scalable and durable real-time messaging engine developed for the Apache Software Foundation, to bring this popular open-source messaging offering to the Bluemix platform in the form of a service, IBM said.

Originally developed at LinkedIn, Apache Kafka is used for large-scale message processing. Developers can use any language that supports HTTPS to interact with the Message Hub Kafka interface, which gives them the flexibility to work in a variety of different languages for different microservices. Message Hub also is useful for building apps in a microservices architecture. This makes it easy for developers to scale apps and deploy changes to individual microservices, without having to recycle the entire application for every minor change.

Earlier this week, at the IBM Insight 2015 conference, Big Blue announced the availability of its Spark-as-a-Service offering—IBM Analytics on Apache Spark—on IBM Bluemix. The release follows a successful 13-week beta program with more than 3,000 developers using it to build intelligent business and consumer apps fueled by data. The company also redesigned more than 15 core analytics and commerce solutions with Apache Spark—helping to dramatically accelerate their real-time processing capabilities.

Today, about 80 percent of all the available data—images, voice, literature, chemical formulas, social expressions, external—is not being used and companies are struggling to effectively analyze and capitalize on its value, IBM said. To address this challenge, IBM is unveiling the industry's first real-time Insights Services on the cloud, a key shift in its analytics strategy through the redesign of its portfolio based on Spark and new cognitive capabilities to advance capture and extract more information and insight from enterprise documents.

"Spark is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with in the big data ecosystem," said Beth Smith, general manager of the Analytics Platform for IBM Analytics. IBM has invested heavily in Spark.

IBM noted that some analytics vendors respond to the big data challenge by focusing on one product to handle traditional types of data, offering grab-bags of hard-to-use analytics tools and selling proprietary products that are out-of-step with today's open-standards ethos and rapidly changing technology environment. IBM is working to make data analytics easier for business leaders and developers alike, to embrace openness, and to accelerate innovation by spreading cognitive technologies to every corner of business and society.

"IBM is building Spark into the core of our analytics and commerce platforms," Joel Horwitz, director of the IBM Analytics Platform, told eWEEK. "Additionally, we'll offer Spark as a Service on IBM Bluemix, host Spark applications, and offer free Spark online courses to educate a million people worldwide. In addition, IBM will also offer enterprise-level support and consulting to our clients. Spark enhancements will extend well beyond IBM Analytics into all parts of the business."